Day 5 in the BVI


Great fifth day in the BVI. Woke up as usual at 7:45 and waited at the cattle guard at 8:15 for Glen to pick us up. At about 8:30 we arrived at the dock and set up our gear for diving. We had a small breakfast consisting of muffins and juice. We had a semi-long boat ride out to the dive site where we would transplant coral.The site was somewhere on the other side of Virgin Gorda at Long Bay. The Dive BVI staff chose this site because it had been damaged by runoff from construction on the island nearby (so it would be good to repair), but also because it was shallow enough to get enough light for it to survive. We would be using two types of coral, elkhorn and staghorn. First we snorkeled around the area in search of elkhorn and staghorn coral that we could transplant. We saw a few of those particular coral, but also a lot of fire coral, finger coral, and brain coral. Sea whips and sea fans were the most populous on the ocean floor. There were not as many fish out, but we did see some juvenile parrotfish, a trumpet fish, and some squid. After we got a sense of where the coral was, we got back to the boat and Casey taught us how to properly break off coral. You are supposed to use a weight or hammer 5 cm away from the base to break off the coral. I was lucky enough to carry the bag which held all the coral pieces we broke off. After we collected our coral and laid it down for later, we ascended upto the boat for some lunch. We had turkey/cheese and peanut butter sandwiches. After lunch, we were instructed on how to properly transplant coral. With elkhorn, you are supposed to use an epoxy gun to lay down an epoxy puddy to segment the fragment of coral down. This keeps the coral firmly in place in case of bad weather. With staghorn, a zip tie is used to tie the fragment of coral to a rock or dead piece of coral. On both, a tag is used so that the coral can be easily identified. We then descended and put this technique into practice. I was in charge of zip ties, Guy the tags, Christian had the job of measuring each piece of coral, and Joe (with his good handwriting) recorded the data. Our buoyancy was put to the test when we had to hover upside down for a minute or so to tie the coral down. It was also a struggle to avoid getting stung by the infamous fire coral. Luckily I was not stung. Our group successfully planted 15 fragments of staghorn coral that will hopefully one day develop into colonies. It was really cool seeing everyone float upside down and planting coral. After an hour of that, Casey let our group play on the bottom for a little while. There I was mauled by Joe as he attempted to throw sand at my face, luckily I shook him off. After that confrontation, we ascended to the boat and took apart our gear. We then headed back to the dock and did some shopping at the marina. Fortunately, we were given plenty of time to shower and chill back at the cabins. The night ended with wraps and Mac and cheese at Mad Dogs as usual. We’re done with diving for the week and probably the summer. I loved SCUBA diving, it’s really a completely different world down there. Tomorrow’s our last day and it’s gonna be tough leaving the BVI. Great day though and I look forward to helping out the community tomorrow